Does it bother you or make you proud that the Tampa Bay Rays are one of the most efficient spenders in all of professional sports? Bloomberg Businessweek came out with its list of the smartest spenders in sports and there the Rays were, coming in at number three. They were second best among Major League Baseball teams, behind the Florida Marlins. That must be an interesting formula for the Rays to be behind a team that hasn’t made the playoffs in eight years.
It brings up an interesting topic among fans. Would you rather see the Rays be bigger players in the world of free agency and bring in some high price names to fortify the lineup? Are you content with a team that knows its limitations and works within them to put a quality product on the field? I think most fans fall somewhere in the middle. I like the idea that the Rays can spend so much less money and still make the playoffs while the Red Sox or Yankees are sitting at home.
The biggest thing that irks me and a lot of other fans is when a guy comes up and is such a great fit with the Rays, and you have to watch him leave for a bigger contract on a bigger stage. You get attached to players, especially when there is as much homegrown talent as there is on the Rays roster. These guys come up as young rookies and they develop and mature while on the major league roster. It hurts when someone like Carl Crawford is so successful that you know there is no way the Rays can keep him and he signs with a division rival with deeper pockets.
The Rays work smart and spend even smarter. The trades they have made over the last few years are just some of the examples where they were able to build talent while saving money. Their free agent signings don’t draw Sportscenter attention but they do pay dividends. Did Casey Kotchman trigger any flash bulbs? All I want is for the Rays to keep winning. How they go about doing that really doesn’t matter. As they say in golf, there are no pictures on the scorecard.